Mushrooms, part of the fungus family, can be a delicious delicacy, a dangerous foe, or can even take you on an intoxicating trip. Though today it is easy to find edible mushrooms, it is only due to the daredevils throughout history who have taken the risk in finding out which ones are safe and which ones are deadly. Thankfully, mushroom of the month clubs make the process easier.
Mushroom hunting has become a favorite hobby for many over the years. Some take their mushroom hobby to new levels and have started mushroom gardens. Others just want to try out different types of mushrooms, without needing to hunt them down first.
Of the many edible mushroom varieties available, the button mushroom is the most commonly consumed. There are now about 38,000 known varieties of mushrooms, though not all are edible, and of those that are not all of them are tasty.
Many wild mushrooms are considered a gourmet luxury due to their cost. For example, morels usually cost $20+ per pound. The high price tag is because morels have a short growing and harvest period between March and May, though the morels look cheap compared to their fungus cousin, the white truffle, which costs $2,471+ per pound.
So whether you are the mycophile or your loved one is, a monthly mushroom subscription is the unique ideal gift for any occasion. And if you are looking for a one-time gift idea, check out the two gift baskets at the end of the article.
Mushroom of the Month Clubs
- The Mushroom Cap
- Wild Gourmet Food
- The Mycelium Emporium
- The Spawn Box
- All Wild VT
Mushroom Gift Baskets
- Mycopia Mushroom
- Mushroom Mountain
The Mushroom Cap
The Mushroom Cap, founded by Kathi Lafferty, opened its doors in 2004 in the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett Square, PA. The Mushroom Cap was a collective inspiration stemming from her husband's family mushroom farm and Kathi's first store, The Growing Tree. Kathi thought there should be a store people could go to, to purchase farm-fresh mushrooms while in the mushroom capital.
In addition to the family farm that grows white mushrooms, other local farmers grow different varieties such as oyster, shiitake, maitake, and crimini mushrooms, all of which are available at The Mushroom Cap.
When you're in the area and stop into the shop, there is a 13-minute educational video you can watch to learn more about the local mushroom industry. And because local mushroom farms are no longer able to give tours, this video helps guests learn more about the mushroom growers in the area.
In addition to locally grown mushrooms The Mushroom Cap also offers pickled mushrooms, snacks and shrooms, mushroom soup mixes, mushroom dip mixes, mushroom sauces, and mushroom log growing kits.
Their mushroom of the month club offers 3, 6, 9, or 12-month options. The monthly mushroom subscription costs between $15 and $20 per month plus shipping.
For those within 300 miles of the store, UPS is used for delivery. All others get transported using USPS. Each shipment is unique and may contain items such as fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms, gourmet mushroom food products, non-edible mushroom products (like cookbooks and mushroom brushes), and oyster mushroom growing kits.
To place an order you just call the store and indicate the club duration.
Wild Gourmet Food
Wild Gourmet Food prides itself on educating the public on wildcrafting. Those who make up Wild Gourmet have a combined 80-year history of knowledge which they share at various venues throughout the world, such as the Terra Madre Conferences in Italy, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, IWEMM-7 Conference in Guatemala, or at various educational institutions in Vermont where their headquarters are located.
Their shared experience includes hunting, gathering, and working in the wilderness to find food and medicine. After adventuring through the meadows and woods, they share their treasures and knowledge with others, including high-end restaurants looking to buy wild organic produce.
They also sell their delicious finds through the Wild Store and Your Wild Pantry that offers a variety of wild organic food programs.
At the Wild Store you can take a variety of classes such as Wildcrafting I and II, From the Wildcrafter's Basket to the Chef's Table, and Wild Food Gatherers Guild Certification.
When you shop the Wild Pantry you will find things like:
- Wild Gourmet Food VT Fresh – A variety of hard to find gourmet plants. Available in both in full or half portion options
- Adventurous Wild VT Palette – Includes things such as blossoms, bulbs, greens, and berries all edible and found in the wild. Available in both full or half portion options
- Wild Nuts
- Wild Ginseng
Then there's the Wild VT Mushroom Club, which is a one-year subscription for $275. Every month the recipient receives a different dried mushroom delivered conveniently to their door. The types of mushrooms included in this subscription vary based on availability and season.
Each shipment contains enough mushrooms for 2-4 servings and is packed securely in cellophane. Included in the box is an ID card describing that month's selection and any unique properties such as if it has medicinal uses plus recommended recipes.
Shipping is included in all but the first delivery.
The Mycelium Emporium
The Mycelium Emporium, founded and operated by Lenny, is the leading online store for mushroom cultures. They provide premium quality edible mushroom cultures to mushroom lovers all over the world.
The Mycelium Emporium, located in Milford, Maine, prides itself on not only providing the highest quality mushroom cultures but also exceptional customer service.
All of their mushroom products come in the form of liquid cultures, which are a sample from a live mushroom contained in a special liquid to ensure its viability. The liquid cultures are then used to grow mushrooms, first starting with grain spawn. Grains are not included in your kit, but recommended options include oats, rye, and wheat.
Plus for more information for working with your mushroom cultures, The Mycelium Emporium offers step by step instructions online.
They offer a multitude of cultures from the common to the hard to find varieties, including sakura oyster, black king pearl, lion's mane, agarikon, and black morel.
Plus, they offer a variety of mushroom culture supplies like collection syringes, Luer Lock caps, and Twist Offs, a liquid culture cap and needle tool.
The Mycelium Emporium offers a monthly grab bag option, though it is only available to customers in the US. The cost is $35 per month and includes shipping.
Each shipment contains five liquid culture syringes, from options found on the website. Often four of the five cultures are common mushrooms, and the fifth is something a little more unique. This subscription is ideal for both beginners and advanced mushroom hobbyists.
Some of the cultures you may see in your shipment include shiitake, pink oyster, turkey tail, tiger sawgill, corn smut, and shaggy mane.
You do have the option of choosing your mushroom culture varieties from over 175 choices.
The Spawn Box
The Spawn Box is a little different than other entries, as this is a seasonal mushroom subscription. It comes from Mycologos, which is a company that focuses on mycology research and education.
Their box follows a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, which is common across farmers in the United States and globally.
Signing up provides you with a box every month for the subscription period. But, subscription periods are seasonal., where you're joining for three months at a time. For example, the subscription window for the 2020 Spring Season closed on March 31, with boxes shipping out in the middle of April.
The next subscription season is not until fall, as summer is not a good time for mushroom growing.
Calling the subscription The Spawn Box is a good indication of what you can expect. Items can include ready-to-fruit mushroom kits, details about the species for the month, and various other surprise items.
All Wild VT
This subscription box comes from Nova & Les, who own a Wild Gourmet Food company located in Vermont. The company is smaller than most of the other entries on this list, but this isn't a bad thing. Small companies often have more unusual offerings.
Their monthly club is called Wild VT Mushroom of the Month Club. It costs $275 for a yearly subscription and there are no other duration options.
Each month you'll recieve a different type of dried wild mushroom from the Vermont area. The dried mushrooms are packed in cellophane and come with details about each month's mushroom. You'll generally receieve around two to four servings of dried mushrooms per month.
Mushroom Gift Baskets
Mycopia Mushrooms, a division of Gourmet Mushrooms, founded in 1977, is the first company to cultivate shiitake mushrooms in the US. Mycopia Mushrooms offers premium quality fresh mushrooms and has a reputation for growing exceptionally flavorful mushrooms.
Mycopia Mushrooms offers the most extensive variety of culinary and nutraceutical mushrooms than any other mushroom grower in the United States. Plus, they gained their organic and kosher certification in 2005.
They grow their mushrooms in oak based reusable bottles, which aids in maintaining their sustainable practices. Plus, after the mushrooms are harvested, the leftover material that the mushrooms grew from is recycled and reused. The compost made from the mushroom growing process is an extremely valuable compost to wineries and farms.
Though Mycopia Mushrooms sells mainly through retailers, they do offer two different gift basket options online:
- Chef's Basket – Two pounds of mushrooms packed into a wicker basket. There are five different organic mushrooms included in the basket:
- Trumpet Royale
- Velvet Pioppini
- Forest Nameko
- Alba Clamshell
- Brown Clamshell
- Mushroom Extravaganza Basket – Four pounds of mushrooms packed into a wicker basket. There are seven different organic mushrooms included in the basket:
- The five in the Chef's Basket
- Maitake Frondosa
- Nebrodini Bianco
Mushroom Mountain is an all-inclusive shop for mushroom lovers. Whether one is new or experienced in the mushroom world, the Mushroom Mountain has something for everyone.
It is the goal at Mushroom Mountain to aid in developing solutions for hunger, pest control, pollution elimination, and disease through the aid of various mushrooms. In addition to their research work, they also offer several classes to help expand grower's knowledge of different fungi.
Not only can you find classes at Mushroom Mountain, but they also offer a wide array of supplies, gifts, kits, and books. Plus, if you are ever in the Easley, South Carolina area, they offer farm tours for $15, where you have an opportunity to learn everything from the starting point of the mushroom life cycle to visiting their research laboratories, and finally learning more about mushroom cultivation.
And if you are looking for a gift for your mycophile in your life Mushroom Mountain sells several different gift options:
- Beginner Mushroom Cultivator Gift Box – This is perfect for the person just getting started, includes a book on hunting and cultivation, plus 500 plugs to get started.
- Starter Log Grower's Kit – This kit has everything one needs to start their personal mushroom “garden.” The kit comes in two different options shiitake or oyster.
- Deluxe Log Grower's Kit – It is similar to the starter kit, but with more plugs, allowing for enough to fill 15 four-foot logs. Also, you have the option of shiitake, oyster, or a combination of the two.
- Mycomatrix Adaptogenic Extracts “Mix & Match” Gift Box – This is a box of four extracts, and you can choose which extracts to include in this gift.
- Young Mycologist Gift Box – Ideal for the young mycophile looking to start their first mushroom farm.
- Medicine Maker's Gift Box – Includes the Fungal Pharmacy book, dried lionsmane and reishi mushroom, and a bottle of Mycomatrix adaptogenic maitake mushroom extract.
- ShrShroomy Chef Gift Box – This yummy box includes a dried wild mushroom mix and two mushroom cookbooks.